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U.S. Supreme Court Turns Away Redskins Case

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By Matt McCleskey

The U.S. Supreme Court will not be considering the question of whether the name of the Washington Redskins football team is offensive. A group of Native Americans had petitioned the court to take up the case, but the justices today turned away the appeal.

The plaintiffs have been trying since 1992 to have the name declared invalid. Their suit is based on a law that prohibits trademarks that are disparaging. A panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office ruled for the plaintiffs in 1999 and canceled the trademarks, but a federal District Court judge overturned that ruling in part because of the time that had elapsed since the Redskins first trademark was issued in the late 1960s.

Today's ruling doesn't settle the legal question. Another group of younger Native Americans has filed a similar claim. They argue they weren't alive to challenge the trademark when it was first issued.


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